EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.09.17

Apple v Samsung Dominates the News, But Samsung Has Just Taken on MPEG-LA Using PTAB Inter Partes Reviews

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bin of Software Patents

Summary: Samsung is attempting to trash multimedia patents (HEVC), which are essentially software patents, but the media is focused on the Supreme Court’s refusal to revisit software patents in Apple v Samsung

THE MPEG patent cartel is a subject we wrote many articles about, especially around 2010. It’s not only a barrier to Free/libre Open Source software but to every small company. It’s a thicket of software patents which miraculously took hold even in countries that had already banned such patents. Korea is one of those countries and it seems as though Samsung is finally fed up with this cartel. As IAM put it this week, “Samsung targets fellow pool member’s HEVC patents as dispute escalates” and here are the details (with the obligatory pro-trolls bias/slant):

A fight between Samsung Electronics and a fellow member of MPEG LA’s HEVC patent pool escalated late last month as the Korean tech giant launched four inter partes reviews (IPR) against patents owned by Ibex PT Holdings. All of the patents targeted by Samsung are a part of the HEVC pool, which relates to video compression technology used in 4K HDTV and other video formats.

Samsung brought two IPRs against Ibex late last year, both of which were denied institution, but significantly ramped up its fight in October filing two reviews at the start of the month followed by the more recent quartet of filings. The company has brought a total of eight IPRs against three patents owned by its fellow HEVC pool member.

It is very unusual for pool members to target each other’s IP in this way. The standard practice is for each licensor in a pool to receive licences to all of the patents owned by the other pool members so they don’t pose an assertion risk. Therefore moving to invalidate another pool member’s IP suggests that Samsung is frustrated that Ibex continues to receive a slice of revenues on patents that the Korean company clearly feels shouldn’t have been granted in the first place.

These four inter partes reviews will help demonstrate the value of PTAB, which we shall cover separately (lots happening there this week). Can these SEPs (standard-essential patents) be tackled once and for all? There are probably too many pertinent patents in there for that to be achievable, but one can help. Pretty much all of these patents would be software patents, which Alice renders invalid.

Speaking of SEPs, ITC has been getting involved, according to IAM which wrote:

You just don’t get injunctions in cases relating to standard essential patents in the US, do you? Absolutely not, in almost all circumstances. However, during a presentation at last week’s IPBC Asia in Tokyo, Vinson & Elkins partner John Fuisz drew delegates’ attention to a recent initial determination in an ITC case that might lead to that changing. In the Matter of Certain Magnetic Data Storage Tapes and Cartridges Containing Same – involving Japanese companies Sony and Fujifilm – has opened the door to the possibility, in some circumstances, of SEP owners being able to use the commission as a forum through which to obtain injunctive relief.

SEP injunctions (embargoes) — more so than SEPs themselves — are seriously unjust. But these are the sorts of things IAM likes to promote, even in its events in Asia (like the above). That’s all about agenda and it’s pretty clear whose. Sadly, a lot of media that covers patent matters is just marketing and lobbying. Here’s a new example of a fake article, an advertisement disguised as “news” for a firm that represents patent trolls (Fish & Richardson).

In other news about Samsung, there’s yet more coverage about Apple v Samsung (we wrote about it over the weekend) and people aren’t happy about the Supreme Court denying intervention. We’ve received some long E-mails after our article about it, which basically argued that the only positive thing is Alice remaining in tact (without risk of challenge).

“Apart from the slide-to-unlock patent,” said Indian press, “the case also involved the quick links patent, which covered software that automatically turned information like a phone number into an accessible link.”

Software patents.

Florian Müller wrote a relatively short post about this. The half-full glass:

Samsung made a lot of headway with respect to design patent damages, and will get a new trial. In that context, the Supreme Court had granted a cert petition by Samsung and overruled the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court might have been particularly hesitant to hear yet another Apple v. Samsung case.

In the meantime Apple has been sued for alleged patent violations again (not software). We don’t suppose Apple intends to start any other (new) case against Android any time soon. Since the death of Steve Jobs not much new has happened on that front.

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” ~Steve Jobs

11.07.17

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Lets Apple Have Its Way and Refuses to Reassess Design and Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 7:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If Apple had a monopoly on apples, it would strive to ‘own’ peaches, too

Some peaces

Summary: In another ongoing case implicating Samsung and Apple the Justices who inadvertently lay the ground for patent law refuse to intervene

Samsung and Apple have several concurrent legal disputes which can wind up with SCOTUS eliminating entire families of patents. As it turns out, however, this case just wasn’t to be. SCOTUS refuses to deal with this case which is involving design patents. There was a good aspect to it in 2014 (software patents), namely that of perpetuating Alice rather than overriding it in any way. As The Register‘s Andrew Silver put it yesterday evening:

Samsung seems to have trouble accepting reality when it comes to a long-running patent spat with Apple.

The US Supreme Court today declined to hear another appeal of a May 2014 verdict awarding Apple $119.6m for Samsung’s alleged infringement of software patents including “quick links”, Reuters reports.

An eight-person jury first sided with Apple in May 2014.

[...]

Samsung decided to take its case to the Supreme Court, arguing that there were procedural issues. Evidently the justices disagree.

Ars Technica‘s Mullin has already covered this too, recalling that patents on “smartphone autocorrect and “slide to unlock” were invalid in light of prior art.”

But this one is about design patents, not software patents. And the focus is the level of ‘damages’:

News today concerns the second verdict. In 2016, the $120 million verdict was thrown out entirely by a panel of judges on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals. The judges said that patents on Apple features like smartphone autocorrect and “slide to unlock” were invalid in light of prior art.

[...]

The infringed patents in this case include US Patent Nos. 8,046,721 (slide-to-unlock), 8,074,172 (word correction), and 5,946,647 (quick links). The ’647 “quick links” patent, which describes a process for turning structures such as addresses and phone numbers into easily clickable links, accounted for nearly $100 million of the damages award.

[...]

As for that first verdict, it has gone up and down through appeals courts many times, significantly lowering the damages figure in the process. Right now, it’s getting lined up for another jury trial to reconsider $399 million in damages. The US Supreme Court said that the method used to calculate damages on design patents, the biggest part of the verdict, was improper.

This case does not concern software directly; still, we were hoping that design patents too would be challenged. These patents are an overkill when copyright and trademark laws already cover designs to a certain — and likely sufficient — degree.

10.31.17

Tightening Patent Scope and Limiting ‘Damages’, Starting With the Obviously Ridiculous Cases

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 12:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rounded corners are not a novel concept

UK power socket

Summary: Patent battles over designs carry on in the US (hopefully to be abolished by the US Supreme Court some time soon) and the Singaporean High Court says it cannot revoke patents

EARLIER this month we wrote a couple of articles about design patents [1, 2]. Any design can already be covered using trademarks and copyrights, so patents are a misfit. The US Supreme Court might actually put an end to these.

“Any design can already be covered using trademarks and copyrights, so patents are a misfit. The US Supreme Court might actually put an end to these.”Right now the high-profile case/s involving design patents would be Apple/Samsung. It’s everywhere in the media. CCIA wrote about that yesterday, challenging the extraordinary ‘damages’ claimed by nonsensical things such as ’rounded corners’. From the conclusion:

The test proposed by the Solicitor General, as adapted by Judge Koh, just isn’t workable in practice. While it’s better than Apple’s test, which would have included the intent of the defendant as a factor (potentially resulting in different articles of manufacture for the same exact product depending on the defendant’s state of mind, an even worse problem than the defendant’s business practices), the Solicitor General’s test doesn’t provide sufficient ability to ascertain the correct article of manufacture from the face of the patent, relying instead on the defendant’s product and business practices.

The best solution would be to simply eliminate § 289, the statute that provides a special “total profits” remedy for infringement of design patents. The special rule § 289 represents was created when the most common remedy for infringement was a share of the infringer’s profits. These days, when the typical damages remedy for patent infringement is a reasonable royalty, there’s simply no need for § 289.

Judge Koh has been dealing with these cases for a long time. She has a lot of power in her hands. Will she or will she not tell Apple to go where the sun won’t shine and apples don’t grow?

“Judge Koh has been dealing with these cases for a long time. She has a lot of power in her hands.”Curiously enough, yesterday an article was published regarding the Singaporean High Court dealing with questionable patents. Like the US Supreme Court, it probably ought to get rid of design patents (or guide future judgment of existing ones towards that), but in reality it seems to have put patents before human rights and whatever lawyers demand. Not reasonable.

Here is the summary:

A recent ruling made clear that Singapore’s High Court does not have original jurisdiction to hear patent revocation proceedings even if they are brought by a counterclaim in infringement proceedings. If the ruling stands, it would mean all revocation cases will have to be started at IPOS

IPOS is the Singaporean equivalent of the USPTO. Why would the High Court need to defer and consult the lowest level in the chain again?

“The US has, belatedly and contrariwise, gone in the opposite direction, recognising that it needs to work for scientists and technologies, not lawyers and prosecutors.”As we argued on several occasions earlier this year, IPOS and Singapore in general (their effectively one-party state) have been trying to embolden patent aggressors rather than foster innovation. It’s the same in China. The US has, belatedly and contrariwise, gone in the opposite direction, recognising that it needs to work for scientists and technologies, not lawyers and prosecutors.

10.24.17

Let’s Hope That Apple v Samsung Puts an End to Design Patents Once and For All

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zach Snyder patent

Summary: Apple and Samsung are going to court again and again, much of the time just to bicker/argue about stupid design patents like rounded corners

EARLIER this month we wrote about design patents being somewhat of a sham. That’s just patents creeping into a domain already properly covered by copyrights and trademarks (like computer programs already fully covered by copyright law).

We may never understand the minds of so-called ‘IP’ lawyers (they lump together trade secrets, patents, copyrights and trademarks), but one thing we understand is that they always pursue money for themselves. They even give bad advice to clients if that would potentially bring income (to the lawyers, not to the clients).

The media is currently full of reports (e.g. [1, 2, 3]) about the Samsung dispute with Apple — a dispute which goes half a decade back. The case is going to a jury — probably a jury that does not quite understand patents (they’re usually told buzzwords like “property”, “innovation”, “stealing” and so on).

Florian Müller was among the first few to write about it (CBS had beaten him to it, but he has the original documents). To quote Müller: “If one thought it appropriate to label a company’s in-house and outside counsel, collectively, a “Comeback Kid,” the term would surely apply to Samsung’s IP litigation group and Quinn Emanuel. Yesterday (Sunday), Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California determined that a new Apple v. Samsung trial on design patent damages, which Samsung had been fighting for in courts on both coasts of the United States since the 2012 verdict, is indeed going to happen.”

“It appears @Apple v @Samsung will never end. Judge Koh says today-Sunday!-that there will be another damages trial,” said this tweet which Müller had highlighted before he found and published the relevant documents.

What’s worth noting here is that it’s all about design patents and this case, if escalated high enough, can squash all design patents (similarly to Alice). To quote CBS:

Get ready for Apple v. Samsung round number… oh, forget it, we don’t remember, either.

Apple and Samsung will head back to district court for yet another design patent infringement trial. Judge Lucy Koh, in an order signed Sunday, has ordered the two tech giants to meet again in a courtroom to determine how much Samsung owes Apple for infringing three patents.

We hope that this case will put an end to design patents once and for all. Both parties have very deep pockets and can afford an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Speaking of Samsung, there’s this bunch of lawsuits coming from Japan. IAM said yesterday that “Hitachi unit Maxell Ltd filed five US patent suits this month following on the Huawei and ZTE campaigns it launched last year. The breadth of the companies and industries on the defendant side in this latest offensive suggest that a significant initiative is underway within the Japanese company to increase its licensee base and royalty earnings.

“Three of the new complaints (which I accessed using Lex Machina) target well-known companies in the mobile space. Suits against Blackberry, ASUSTeK Computer and Blu Products name a range of mobile, tablet and other devices accused of infringing patents which appear to be related to mobile phones and cameras.

“The other two defendants – Fandango Media and FOTV Media Networks – both operate online video streaming services. These suits involve patents directed to digital video recording and transmission.”

What is it about dying companies that compels them to be so litigious? Such is the nature of patents. It’s like an ‘insurance’ policy for when business runs dry and managers look for someone to blame (or sue).

10.06.17

Design Patents Should Not Exist, Trademarks and Copyrights Already Cover Designs

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zach Snyder is listed as an “Inventor” of this:

Zach Snyder patent

Summary: The absurdity of broad patents on design ideas which are about as ludicrous as patents on paintings or sketch arts

WE have, for a long time, said that patents on designs should not exist. Trademark law already covers designs, sometimes copyright law covers these too.

This new book title irked us a little. Patently-O promoted it yesterday. The book’s name, “Design Rights”, is misleading. These are not “rights” per se. We often see words like assets, property, rights, protection etc. misused. Patently-O misuses these words too.

“The book walks through design protection available the various global regions,” Patently-O wrote, “US, Europe, Japan, China, India, S.America, etc – and is designed to help practitioners both understand the law and get started on strategy.”

It talks about “practitioners”, i.e. those who make a living not from designs but from telling designers that they need patents.

Design patents too often (more often than not) look like satirical ones. Patently-O gave this example the other day and even Crouch made fun/poked at it. To quote: [via]

Don’t stare too deeply into the pattern above – it embodies Columbia Sportswear’s U.S. Design Patent No. D657093 – covering “the ornamental design of a heat reflective material, as shown and described.” The recent $3 million jury verdict in Columbia Sportsware v. Seirus Innovative Accessories appears to be the first post-Samsung verdict on design patent damages.

Look at it. Ridiculous! How can that be monopolised? It’s almost outrageous.

The Samsung verdict Crouch alludes to is the Apple case, which revolves around a ridiculous design patent dispute. There’s an update on the case in this post from Florian Müller:

Just this week, the Wall Street Journal reported on the high-volume business Apple is doing with Samsung, a key supplier of components for various products including the new flagship iPhone, the iPhone X, on which Samsung will reportedly make $110 per unit. But as device makers, the two remain fierce competitors–and adversaries in court.

And on the design patents:

In the famous design patents case, the DoJ agreed with Samsung on the key legal question (article of manufacture). It additionally brought up a procedural question that could have enabled Apple to defend the original damages award. Now, with respect to the more recent petition relating to invalidity, injunctive relief, and infringement, the DoJ cautiously distances itself from the en banc opinion and indicates only between the lines that it may disagree, to some extent, from a policy perspective (“rigid rules for demonstrating obviousness” etc.). It would have been nice if the DoJ had been clearer about the implications of this for U.S. tech companies and for the work of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is supposed to protect real technological progress, which is hard to do if even weak evidence of non-obviousness gets a lot of weight. The DoJ could have expressed more clearly a concern over what this means for patent quality, but unfortunately it didn’t.

Those who have actually seen some design patents (not registered designs) will know that it’s a bubble of bad patents. Patently-O recently showed the explosive growth of such patents at the USPTO.

What next for patent maximalists? The crooked EPO has already begun granting patents on life itself, rendering EPs a laughing stock.

09.30.17

Apple is the Next BlackBerry

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blackberry Guardsman

Summary: BlackBerry continues going down the route of ‘monetising’ its patents rather than actually making phones — something towards which even Apple increasingly gravitates

It was exactly two weeks ago that we wrote about BlackBerry becoming aggressive with patents. Only days later we found out that their chief patents guy had left. BlackBerry has a large number of patents granted by the USPTO, even though BlackBerry is Canadian.

BlackBerry, as we have stated in nearly a dozen articles, was reduced to nothing but patent litigation and “licensing” (euphemism for shakedown/settlement/extortion, which otherwise culminates in litigation). Their producing part of the business is more or less defunct (depending on who one asks; they still need to provide updates to existing customers).

“BlackBerry’s Software Sales Contribute To Share Value Increase,” said this headline just before the weekend. “BlackBerry signs first licensing deal for its version of Android,” said other headlines [1, 2] from Thursday. These deals have a lot to do with design patents and even hardware (especially keyboards that BlackBerry is widely known for). To quote:

BlackBerry stopped making its own phones last year and began licensing its technology and brand to other companies. Up to this point, those deals have included BlackBerry’s hardware patents, some of which go back to the nascent days of the smartphone era. This deal shows there is demand for the company’s version of the Android software on its own, said Alex Thurber, head of mobility solutions division for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.

We expect Apple too to end up like this. Why? Because Android OEMs are taking away its market share, little by little.

Yesterday, citing the likes of Rebecca Tushnet (not patent maximalists for the most part), Florian Müller wrote about Apple’s design patent case (there’s more than one) against Samsung. Here’s the latest:

Apple and Samsung have meanwhile responded to each other’s proposed tests (Apple brief, Samsung brief). They accuse each other’s proposal of being inconsistent with the Supreme Court decision, other case law, and statutory law. Up to a certain degree, I agree with Mr. Levy’s criticism of Apple’s proposed test: Apple is simply trying to salvage a $400 million award through a test that has rather subjective elements such as “how” a design was used, “how” a product was sold, or “the degree to which the asserted article of manufacture is physically and conceptually distinct from the product as sold.” That kind of test would be a recipe for lengthy trials and confused juries, in many cases even hung juries.

[...]

A really interesting panel debate–the 90-minute recording is worth watching in its entirety– took place in Washington D.C. the week before last. A Law360 reporter attended and noted that this design patent damages issue divides the patent world. Professor Rebecca Tushnet (Harvard) published some of the panelists’ statements on her blog. I’ll probably get back to some of what was said on that panel at the next procedural juncture.

Apple is eager to win this legal battle because if (or when) Samsung gives up Apple can then go after other OEMs, not necessarily with lawsuits but with “licensing” demands.

09.21.17

East Asia’s Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

Posted in Apple, Asia, Microsoft, Samsung at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From manufacturing to merely taxing manufacturers?

A factory

Summary: The high cost of China’s new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China

THE unit once owned by Google (now Lenovo) — namely Motorola‘s mobile business — is in the news again. IAM says that the judge who oversaw Microsoft’s patent war on Linux (Android/Motorola) is upset that Britain now enables patent trolls to operate in London (we wrote a lot about this decision at the time). Huawei, a Chinese giant and leading Android OEM, was attacked by Ericsson’s patent troll. As IAM puts it:

US district court judge James Robart has taken aim at the decision handed down by Justice Colin Birss in the high profile London High Court SEP/FRAND case of Unwired Planet v Huawei, decided earlier this year. Speaking at the annual IPO meeting in San Francisco yesterday, Robart – who handed down the famous Microsoft v Motorola decision in 2013 and sits in the Western District of Washington – said that Birss was wrong to offer specific royalty rates for the technology in question, rather than offering a range, and stated that he did not expect the judgment to be particularly influential in US courthouses.

[...]

Robart’s claim that the Unwired decision wouldn’t have much influence over US courts has previously been made by former Chief Judge for the Federal Circuit Paul Michel who told this blog after the London ruling was handed down that the US legal system was traditionally inward looking and so rarely paid much heed to overseas cases. Of course, judges around the world often disagree on key areas of patent law – the Supreme Court’s rulings in several patent eligibility cases has meant that the US is out-of-step with many jurisdictions in sectors like medical diagnostics – but Robart’s comments highlight the degree to which the law in FRAND licensing remains unsettled.

This decision ought to have been a wake-up call for Huawei, Lenovo (now holding Motorola’s ‘assets’), and China in general. Patent maximalism harms them everywhere. IAM also wrote about this collapse of a Chinese company that wrongly relies on patents rather than production. To quote:

Sanan Optoelectronics failed to take over Osram after having its bold $8.2 billion bid rebuffed late last year. But the Chinese LED maker has turned to the patent market to shore up its IP position, most recently buying a pair of portfolios from Sony. As increased scrutiny from regulators in both Europe and the United States threatens to scuttle Chinese firms’ more audacious M&A endeavours, there is still significant scope for them to acquire IP in smaller-scale deals.

[...]

A USPTO database search turned up just one previous example of Sony transferring patents to a Chinese entity. In 2015, it assigned six imaging-related assets to Hikvision, a video surveillance company whose controlling shareholder is a state-owned enterprise. So it appears to be a relatively rare occurance. Throughout this year and going back to 2015, Sony has steadily transferred LED-related assets to JOLED, an entity which was formed to combine the OLED functions of Sony, Panasonic and Japan Display in 2014. The Sanan sale perhaps shows that Sony has identified assets in the technology area which are not needed by its spun-out business but can find willing buyers on the open market.

As we said here many times before, this strategy of China’s patent gold rush (with government support/backing/financing) is going to be self-destructive. China is, indeed, becoming a patent trolls hub (self harm). IAM wrote about it the other day in relation to Samsung coming under fire. Shortly beforehand, Florian Müller wrote about the Apple v Samsung design patent case — a case which was discussed some days ago:

About a month and a half ago, Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California held that Samsung had not waived its “article of manufacture” argument in the first Apple v. Samsung case. That was another step forward for Samsung in its quest to get the damages award reduced. But prior to ordering a new trial on design patent damages, Judge Koh ordered briefing on various questions to be resolved first.

Last week, the parties filed their answers to the court’s questions (Apple, Samsung). Samsung argues that Apple has the burden of proof and that the only way the damages question could be resolved without a new trial would be for the court to find an evidentiary failure on Apple’s part. Apple refers the court to the Solicitor General’s Supreme Court brief. According to Apple, after a prima facie showing regarding the article of manufacture that infringes a design patent, the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that a component of that product is the appropriate basis for a disgorgement of infringer’s profits. While I tend to consider Samsung’s proposition better policy, I have no idea to what extent Judge Koh may be influenced by the DoJ’s Supreme Court brief.

Design patents were certainly on the line after the case had been escalated to the Supreme Court and then sent back down to lower courts. As one publication put it the other day:

The U.S. Supreme Court furthered a legal dispute last year as it sent a patent law case involving the two biggest smartphone makers, Apple and Samsung, back to lower courts. Intellectual property experts are now looking to those courts to better define an “article of manufacture” and determine how to place value on individual features in a complex device.

This case seems like it has lasted forever (so far). The only party happy about it is the patent ‘industry’, which is wasting time bickering over patents instead of creating something.

09.06.17

When Patent Maximalists Say ‘Innovation’ is Moving to Asia or China They Mean Litigation Chaos Moves There

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, LG, Patents, Samsung at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The latest ‘revolution’ in China is deeply self-corroding

China flag

Summary: China’s short-term patent policy already backfires by attracting patent parasites (growing at the expense of producing industries)

IT was only days ago that mainstream media relayed the lie (unsupported by facts) that the US loses leadership to China (in the patents sense). All that the US ‘loses’ is patent trolling and other such nuisance. Earlier today we saw this new press release whose headline made it abundantly clear that patents are not about innovation but about “blocking competitors” (their words, i.e. opposite of innovation).

“In Korea (the South), which in principle does not allow patenting of software, there are two massive corporations which dominate the charts (not only in Korea).”As we have been noting here for about a year, China is creating a massive patent bubble; last year alone, for example, over a million patent applications were filed! Yes, over a million! Imagine how rubbish these must be to reach/added up to such a figure!

In Korea (the South), which in principle does not allow patenting of software, there are two massive corporations which dominate the charts (not only in Korea). Those corporations are LG and Samsung (especially the latter). Design patents should generally not be granted; that’s what copyrights and trademarks (or “registered designs”, not patents) are for, but Samsung joins this gold rush anyway, possibly in anticipation of more Apple lawsuits (this matter may soon reach the US Supreme Court). The other day Florian Müller said that the “Korean court denies Qualcomm’s motion to stay execution of KFTC antitrust ruling,” referring to yet another headache that we covered here before. The background:

Last December, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) handed down a decision against Qualcomm that U.S. tech companies welcomed. The following month, the FTC and Apple sued Qualcomm on antitrust grounds in California. In March, it became known that Qualcomm’s refusal to licenses its standard-essential patents (SEPs) on FRAND terms to other chipset makers is one of the various concerns the Korean competition authority has.

Korea is a smart country; unlike China, it’s not being rushed into the patent bubble. It’s not being shamed into patent maximalism, either. Their regulatory agencies have already dealt big blows to US corporations such as Intel (we covered this at the time) and they don’t let bullying become the norm. Also, as we noted here many times before, Korean companies very rarely initiate legal action with patents (unless attacked first). It’s something about their culture.

“Korea is a smart country; unlike China, it’s not being rushed into the patent bubble.”Compare that to China.

“China’s top patent owner Huawei,” as IAM put it the other day, is ‘collecting’ patents right now (from a Japanese company). Here is what IAM predicts:

China’s top patent owner Huawei has continued its third-party acquisition efforts with the recent pick-up of seven US patent grants from Japanese company Hitachi. Several weeks on from that transaction, it doesn’t look like the apparent patent sale was part of a larger deal to settle the US legal tussle between the two companies, which is ongoing in the Eastern District of Texas. Instead it underline’s the Japanese company’s all-of-the-above approach to monetising patents as its business is transformed.

Those unruly patent zealots, as IAM put it in another article, have devolved into a “shouting match” in China:

A somewhat hostile question from an Apple-linked private practice lawyer sparked a heated and, at times, ugly exchange of the sort rarely seen at patent conferences in Beijing this afternoon. Apple and Chinese firm Iwncomm have been battling it out in Chinese courtrooms for more than a year, and attendees at the China Patent Annual Conference, which kicked off today at the China National Convention Center, saw it play out before their eyes.

Iwncomm is far from a household name, even in its native China (where it’s also known as Xi’an Xidian Jietong). But its IP profile has risen significantly since it became the first plaintiff to obtain an SEP-based injunction in China. In a session focused on IP licensing which also featured Apple senior legal counsel Steve Wang, Iwncomm managing director Cao Jun introduced his company and explained his view on why China shouldn’t be afraid to strengthen IP protections.

We have become accustomed to a lot of legal ‘action’ in China, unlike say in Korea or Japan (their courts are tougher on patents). As of this week, IAM calls some of the most horrible patent trolls “PIPCOs” (avoiding the term “troll” like Trump avoids “climate change”). It’s about china again (ZTE) and here is what the business model is compared to:

The PIPCO model is not entirely dead — the success of the likes of InterDigital, Rambus and Finjan show that it can still work for a select few — but it’s clear that most licensing businesses in the future will remain private.

We have been writing quite a bit about Finjan lately. It’ll hopefully perish in the US, but the likes of it seem to have spread eastwards to China.

If China doesn’t recognise just how misguided its patent policy is, not much will be left there other than lawsuits (as opposed to production). This is of course good for patent zealots like IAM and its funding sources, but very bad to productive companies.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts